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Pseudoword and Real Word Memory in Unilateral Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

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Recognition memory for pronounceable pseudowords (PWs), real words, and degraded photographs of unfamiliar faces, was examined in 45 patients with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), before and after Anterior Temporal Lobectomy, to test predictions from two accounts of hemispheric differences in memory functioning: (1) The ‘material-specific' account predicts that left TLE (LTLE) patients would be impaired in memory for both familiar (real words) and unfamiliar (PWs) verbal stimuli, while memory for novel complex visual stimuli (unfamiliar faces) would be impaired in right TLE (RTLE) patients. (2) The ‘familiarity' account predicts that memory for familiar stimuli (such as words) will be impaired in LTLE patients, while memory for both linguistic and nonlinguistic unfamiliar stimuli should be disrupted in RTLE patients. Results were consistent with the ‘material-specific' hypothesis suggesting that both familiar and unfamiliar linguistic stimuli are processed for memory in the left medial temporal lobe (MTL), whereas unfamiliar nonverbal stimuli are processed for memory in the right MTL.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2002


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